Turf-Type Tall Fescue


Turf-type fescue is a perennial grass that can stay green year-round under the right temperature and moisture conditions. This grass is popular because it stays green in areas where less temperature-tolerant grasses cannot thrive. Fescue is a low-maintenance grass with few pest or disease problems, but it can become a threat to the native plants in some areas.


Turf-type tall fescue grass grows in most of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. This grass is found most often in the U.S. Northwest, Midwest and South. Fescue is most popular in an area called the transition zone, which includes Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Soil Types

Though it can grow in many different types of soil, tall fescue grows best in a well-drained soil comprised mainly of clay material. Turf-type tall fescue can live in soil with few nutrients, but a well-fertilized, nitrogen-rich soil helps keep tall fescue looking its best.


Fescue is a dark green grass that has deep roots and propagates with rhizomes. Rhizomes are underground rootstocks that grow horizontally to reproduce the grass. Left to grow without mowing, tall fescue reaches a height of 3 to 4 feet.


To prevent diseases in tall fescue, mow the grass to a height of 2 inches in the cool seasons and 3 inches in the warm summer months. If soil is deficient, add a supplemental complete turf fertilizer in September and May and apply nitrogen only in February. Young turf-type fescue is at a higher risk of fungal disease than an older fescue lawn; fungicides can be used to kill fungus problems in tall fescue turf grass.


In regions where conditions allow tall fescue to live year-round, this grass can become an invasive weed that threatens native grasses and vegetation. Tall fescue is considered an invasive threat to wild plants in Georgia, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, New Jersey Louisiana, Missouri, Idaho, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Washington, according to the National Park Service.

Keywords: tall fescue traits, fescue diseases, turf-type fescue

About this Author

Terry Morgan is a freelancer who has been writing since 1992. Morgan has been published at Gardenguides.com, Travels.com and eHow, frequenting topics like technology, computer repair, gardening and music. Morgan holds an Associate of Arts with a journalism focus from Moorpark College and a Bachelor of Arts in music and technology from California State University San Marcos.